Christmas In California
Jodie Fried and her Australian clan love their simple, practical house near the beach in Los Angeles, where Christmas is a craft-filled, handmade affair.
With a fine eye for visual effects, an expat couple set up a relaxed LA nest.
Alife well travelled is a life well lived, as the saying goes, and this Australian family knows the feeling. Jodie Fried is cofounder and director of esteemed Australian artisanal rug company Armadillo & Co; her husband, Greig Fraser, is the Oscar-nominated cinematographer who shot Lion.
Jodie grew up in Adelaide, Greig in Melbourne. They met in Sydney and then, almost 10 years ago, headed to Los Angeles, where they live when not hopping around the world on film shoots for Greig’s work; Jodie can helm Armadillo & Co from anywhere as long as there’s a phone and internet. Together, they have three spirited children: Felix, who is six; Leo, four; and Polly, two.
Their current home is a contemporary two-storey, fourbedroom rental in the beachside neighbourhood of Santa Monica, a stone’s throw from LA surf icon Venice Beach. It’s also a ‘meantime’ dwelling because they are building their dream home nearby. The rental is solid and comfortable, close to schools and kindy for the kids, and lends itself to a practical and creative family life.
The house was designed by local architects Whelan/O’Neill in 2005. Unlike most Australian homes, the outdoor area is at the front. There’s a solid fence that’s high enough to blockoutthestreetandthecourtyardisadditionallyscreened with hop bush, a shrub native to Australia. It’s a great house for entertaining as the open-plan living/dining/kitchen area opens onto the courtyard through large-format sliding doors. “It’s clean, light, bright and airy,” says Jodie.
“As you change as a person and as a family, it’s important to keep evolving, and so should your environment,” she says. The family had shipped all their belongings from Sydney to LA but ended up selling or giving most of it away – it just didn’t seem to fit their new lifestyle. While the kids are young, Jodie intends to keep the decor “simple and economical”, a pared-back interior scheme accented, naturally, with tonal and textural rugs.
The family’s dream home will be finished at the end of next year, but in the meantime, this cool, contemporary rental is perfect for practical family living – and a Northern Hemisphere Christmas with all the trimmings. Armadillo-co.com; Instagram @jodiefried